Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Britain's Gove offers support to foreign secretary over Iran comments

Britain's Gove offers support to foreign secretary over Iran comments

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has held spoken to the husband of a British woman imprisoned in Iran amid growing pressure on the British government to push for her release.

Johnson's comments, made during a Commons committee meeting, were seized upon by Iranian state media as a "confession" but Gove has insisted it is the "extremists" in Iran who are to blame for her incarceration, not the carelessness of his Tory ally.

Richard Ratcliffe said his wife Nazanin had "expressed anger" at the Foreign Secretary over the "shambles" her case has become, but he did not believe Mr Johnson should be forced to quit.

Khan was similarly critical of Johnson, his predecessor as Mayor of London calling on him to "clarify the huge error he made" and help bring Zaghari-Ratcliffe back to the UK.

Asked what charity administrator Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing when she was arrested in Tehran in 2016, Mr Gove said: "I don't know". "Iran. It should be the actions of their judiciary and the revolutionary guards".

Richard Ratcliffe said he spoke to Mr Johnson for about 20 minutes yesterday morning, during which the Cabinet minister said he was "deeply sorry for Nazanin's suffering". It has always been clear, she was on holiday visiting her family.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson during a press conference with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray on October 19, 2017, in London.

He will also "look seriously" at the prospect of him accompanying the Foreign Secretary to Iran, and "consider personally" Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's eligibility for diplomatic protection.

A specialist who examined her believes they are benign but should be monitored because Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has a family history of breast cancer and that the stress she is under could be a contributory factor.


Beleaguered British Prime Minister Theresa May has been urged to sack her Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson over his handling of the Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe affair.

He was asked by the BBC what the Briton was doing in Iran, and replied: "I don't know".

"There is no reason, no excuse and no justification for her detention and she should be released", he told the BBC'sAndrew Marr show.

Villa said Johnson's "serious mistake.can only worsen her sentence".

Questioned as to whether she had been training journalists, he said: "Her husband said she was there on holiday and her husband is the person who should know".

Defending his Cabinet colleague who is facing calls to resign, Mr Gove also criticised those trying to "blame politicians in a democracy who are trying to do the right thing".

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said Prime Minister Theresa May should fire Johnson for "embarrassing and undermining our country with his incompetence and colonial throwback views and putting our citizens at risk". "He's a good foreign secretary", Davis told Sky News.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual British-Iranian citizen, is serving a five-year sentence after being convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran's clerical establishment.

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